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Online Consignment Retailer ThredUP To Open Physical Stores

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While some traditional retailers are moving their businesses online-only, one previously online-only clothier is doing the opposite: Online consignment and thrift store ThredUP is taking its business offline, opening several bricks-and-mortar stores.

ThredUP announced this week that it had opened its first physical store in San Marcos, TX, this month, with plans to open at least four other locations by the end of the year.

You might be asking yourself, why would a retailer with a seemingly popular online business want wade into an arena where many retailers are struggling?

Well, ThredUP — which previously partnered for a promotion with Target — believes it has the answers. First, the company is opening stores in cities where its online business is popular.

Second, because the company can see what customers are buying online, it says it can determine what brands are trending in certain areas and stock stores accordingly.

For instance, the company says that its new store will be stocked with J.Crew tops, which are trending in the area; Michael Kors bags, which are the No. 1 search online in Texas; and designer denim, which is the No. 1 seller in Texas.

The new stores will be a combination of traditional retail and high-tech shopping, where customers can use in-store iPads to find clothing online that isn’t stocked in the physical store.

For example, if you found a shirt you just have to have, but the size isn’t available in-store, you can use the iPad to find it online and have it sent to your home.

However, not all of the company’s online activities will be in physical stores, at least not at first. Customers wanting to exchange or sell their old clothing won’t have the option at the physical stores. Instead, the company says that for now, customers must still use ThredUP’s Clean Out Kits to send the company their like-new clothing.

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